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KOEE is a not for profit making national Non Governmental Organization (NGO), registered as a membership organization and is a member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)-International

Eco-schools and SDGS

By David Wandabi – Programs Officer – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Eco-schools Coordinator, KOEE

#SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Quality Education

The Eco-Schools methodology is a powerful tool for providing quality education for sustainable development at all school levels. Its whole institutional approach (WIA) ensures an inclusive implementation throughout the whole kindergarten, school or campus, and the involvement of all children and students.

Eco-schools Kenya employ a whole institutional approach that uses schools as entry points to reach communities through pupils, teachers, parents, non-teaching staff, all departments and other stakeholders of the school to address local challenges of sustainable development. WIA requires not only the reorientation of teaching content and methodology, but also school and facility management that is in line with sustainable development as well as the cooperation of the institution with sustainable development stakeholders in the community (UNESCO, 2016). Eco-schools strategy acknowledges that all departments in a school need to synergize for sustainable development action. 

Some of the benefits of the WIA include: efficient use of resources hence the institution saves money, greening of school grounds, creating extra source of income from the micro-projects, creation of environmental awareness, development of desirable skills and attitudes for sustainable development, development of a sense of belonging in the school and ownership of sustainability initiatives, enabling acquisition of new professional learning opportunities by the teachers, providing opportunity to have hands on learning opportunity using sustainable development micro-projects, contribution to solving local development challenges by the school and community and thus reducing their ecological footprints significantly and strengthening relationships with families and local community (UNESCO, 2016).

Whole Institutional Approach Case Study

An Eco-school that best demonstrates the whole institutional approach is Watema Primary School. The school is located in Kaiti Sub-county in Makueni County of Kenya. It has a student population of 463 (239 boys and 213 girls) with 15 teachers. 

School governance

The school has an inclusive Eco-committee including the head teacher, Eco-schools coordinator, representatives from school board of management, parents and pupil representative from all classes. Additionally, the school has also co-opted a civil society representative in the committee. Being in arid area, the committee is proactive in guiding the school on how to get the best out of their environment to make learning as enjoyable as possible.

Facilities and Operations

The school has strived in making itself a model of sustainability in the area, embracing a number of green initiatives to promote self-reliance in the community in order to eradicate poverty in the area.  The school has two solar panels to supplement electricity to cut energy costs. The school has four roof water harvesting tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres each to supplement their water which they get from a dam outside the school. With the area having erratic rainfall patterns, the water harvesting system ensures the school has water for drinking, cooking, washing hands and watering plants for over two months. The water has enabled the school grow vegetables, sweet potatoes and fruit trees for food and income generation. The school also grows fodder to make hay for sale. The school has a nursery for indigenous trees to provide seedlings for sale. The harvested water has also been used to construct hand wash facilities near the toilets to enhance sanitation and hygiene.

The main outcomes of the green initiatives are:

  • The pupils have been able to learn practical skills in the conservation of the environment.
  • The pupils have been taught ways of being self-reliant through starting green enterprise for income generation.
  • The community has been enlightened on the importance of green entrepreneurship for sustainable development.

Teaching and Learning

The Eco-school initiatives have enhanced teaching of sustainable development issues in all subject areas in the school as teachers use the projects as teaching and learning resources. Students are provided with an opportunity to learn issues like enterprise development, water harvesting, tree nursery development, irrigation among others which offers them a platform to create green jobs.  This has helped in propagating the teaching of critical, creative and futures thinking as students are challenged to be innovative in finding practical solutions to their local challenges. In this way, the pupils are contributing to solving local development challenges and thus reducing their ecological footprints.

Community Partnerships

The school is working with community members in implementing the projects for learning and teaching. Community members and groups visit the school to buy vegetables, tree seedlings and fodder and the school has also influenced other schools around them to embrace environmental conservation. Additionally, the school is working closely with the County Government of Makueni which donated two water harvesting tanks to the school to support the Eco-school initiative. The school uses local experts from the community to teach the students on various farming technologies. 

Roof water harvesting system, solar and vegetable gardening projects implemented in partnership with the community at Watema Primary School

References

UNESCO (2016). Getting Climate Ready: A Guide for Schools on Climate Action. UNESCO.Paris.

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Eco-schools Program and Poverty Reduction

By David Wandabi – Programs Officer – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Eco-schools Coordinator, KOEE

Students from Goibei High School packing honey from school hives for sale
Photo Credits : Alvin Sika, KOEE
Students from Kariobangi South Primary School showing items made from recycled bottle-tops for sale. Photo Credits : Alvin Sika, KOEE

Educational changes necessary for poverty reduction should not only be content-related but require approaches to teaching and learning that are transformative, community-engaged and relevant to contemporary and future societies- quality education (UNESCO, 2013).  Such changes need to be infused by values and ethics that are counter-hegemonic and different to the ‘norm’. Based upon experiences of Kenya Eco-schools Program in formal education in Kenyan primary and secondary schools, it has led toimproved teacher quality and professionalism, enhanced learning environments, innovative curricular approaches, improved school management capacity, and better accountability systems as some of the key drivers of quality education that has helped alleviate extreme poverty by formal education over the decade (Otieno, 2015).

Eco-Schools framework provides numerous opportunities to enhance learner-centred education, through contextualization of learning, through strengthening school-community interactions/partnerships and through enabling active involvement of learners in decision making and a range of contextually meaningful Eco-schools practices. This enables creation of a nexus between formal, informal and non-formal learning (Odek, 2006).

The Eco-schools programme promotes Climate Change Education for Sustainable Agribusiness Development and Risk management(CCESDAR) strategy that provides a useful tool to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in technical, entrepreneurial and industrial training institutes (TVETs) (UNICEF, 2013). Investment in greeningof schools and communities has helped in addressing poverty and unemployment especially among the youths. This has been seen in innovations in agriculture for increased production and value addition developed, e.g. active school gardens for food production using improved farming methods such as organic farming and mulching. This has helped increase food production, make savings for the schools and impart practical skills among learners for survival. Rain water harvesting promoted in schools – has created jobs for artisans, clean water for schools and communities. Biogas technology promoted for green energy, has created jobs for artisans, produces slurry for organic farming and reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) Emissions. Green jobs have also been witnessed in nursery establishment and tree planting in the schools.

REFERENCES

Odeke, G.J.E. (2006). Eco-Schools. Completion report for pilot phase 1 for Kenya: Nairobi (Unpublished report), Kenya Organisation for Environmental Education.

Otieno, D.and Odeke, G.Eco-Schools Handbook Starter Pack, Nairobi: Romlan Publishers and Cincom Systems, 2006.

Otieno, D. Faith Based ESD Toolkit, Nairobi: Jacaranda Designs, 2013.

UNESCO.National Journeys Towards ESD, Paris: UNESCO, 2013

UNICEF. Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector: Resource Manual, New York: UNICEF, 2013.

The Evolution of Corporate Sustainability in Kenya

By Lorraine Dixon

Business, Environment and Sustainability Specialist – KOEE

Source: TheGivingMachine

Against the backdrop of a shrinking natural resource base and societies shackled by inequality, the role of business in helping to drive sustainable development is under more scrutiny than ever before.The engagement of business with sustainability first began through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There is no universally accepted definition of CSR.  A 2009 publication on CSR in sub-Saharan Africa by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GTZ, 2009), states that: CSR refers to the accountability of corporates, to both shareholders and stakeholders for their utilization of resources, for their means of production, for their treatment of workers and consumers and for their impact on the social and ecological environment in which they operate. Cheruiyot and Tarus (2016) defined CSR in Kenya as the long-term commitment of organizations to social, economic,  legal and environmental rights  and responsible outcomes  for  the sustainability of humanity.

CSR in Kenya has long been characterised by voluntary actions of a philanthropic nature, particularly directed towards challenges of persistent poverty, poor access to education, health care, water and sanitation facilities, as well as food insecurity. However, there has been a slow shift to addressing employee and environmental issues, in the pursuit of sustainability, as reflected in global trends. 

A recent study revealed that most business managers attribute their sustainability initiatives and practices to the need to mitigate their company‘s social and environmental impacts, while some use the initiatives to improve brand image, build trust, and reputation (KCIC Research, 2018). There has been growing recognition of international instruments and networks that aim at consolidating business efforts towards embracing sustainability. The UN Global Compact is an example of this, and it supports companies to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption; and take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

The Global Compact Network Kenya (GNCK) was first launched in 2005 with the strategic objective of spearheading and catalysing actions aimed at promoting good business practices by building capacity and awareness of ethics, integrity and Corporate Social Responsibility in furtherance of the UN Global Compact‘s Ten principles. Only 140 companies are participating in the GCNK, indicating a gap in understanding and uptake of corporate sustainability by Kenyan businesses. 

Globally, the last 20 years has seen the emergence of a new approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with companies recognizing that improving their own impacts and addressing wider sustainable development challenges social and environmental problems will be crucial in securing their long-term success.The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges. As the SDGs form the global agenda for the development of societies, they allow companies to demonstrate how their business helps to advance sustainable development, both by minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive impacts on people and the planet (GRI, UN Global Compact &WBCSD, 2015).

Increasingly, high profile companies are implementing CSR processes such as public commitment to standards, community investment, continuous improvement, stakeholder engagement and corporate reporting on social and environmental performance. This has resulted in a transition of some companies’ efforts under the umbrella of Corporate Shared Value (CSV). This is defined as “policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.” (Porter & Kramer, 2011) Three key ways that companies can create shared value opportunities are by reconceiving products and markets; by redefining productivity in the value chain; and by enabling local cluster development (Porter & Kramer, 2011). 

Source: The Partnering Group

Safaricom is an example of a Kenyan company that has embraced the concept of CSV. Safaricom is the biggest telecommunications company in the country providing voice, text, data and mobile money transfer services. The company leverages the power of mobile technology to deliver shared value propositions that disrupt inefficiencies and impact lives positively in the health, agriculture and education sectors (Safaricom, 2019). DigiFarm, the company’s integrated agriculture platform that helps agribusinesses and smallholder farmers share information and transact, won the Shared Value Award at the August 2018 Loeries Awards held in South Africa. Safaricome started the process of integrating nine of the 17 SDGs into its core business strategy in 2016. Its nine priority goals are the goals related to health; education; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; innovation and infrastructure; reducing inequalities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; peace and justice and partnerships. The company also hosted the Africa Shared Value Summit in Nairobi in May 2019, which attracted participants from 18 countries. 

Therefore as the corporate sustainability landscape changes, it is important to recognise the need for awareness creation and education on the important role business has to play in sustainable development, not only for society, but also for itself. This will help empower the sector in Kenya to embrace sustainability in a more holistic manner.  

References

Cheruiyot, T.K., and Tarus, D.K. (2016).CorporateSocialResponsibility  inKenya: Blessing,CurseorNecessaryEvil?

GRI, UN Global Compact, and WBCSD.(2015). SDG Compass: The Guide for Business Action on the SDGs. 

GTZ. (2009). Built-in or bolted-on Corporate Social Responsibility in sub-Saharan Africa: A survey on promoting and hindering factors.

KCIC Research. (2018). Public and Private Sector Perceptions of Sustainability in Kenya: Practice, Barriers, Stakeholder Participation. 

Nyaga R.N. (2016). Mainstreaming Corporate Social Responsibility for Environmental and Social Development in Kenya.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating Shared Value How to reinvent capitalism and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, January-February 2011.

Safaricom (2019). Towards Reducing Inequalities: 2019 Sustainable Business Report.

From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals

By Ojuka Vincent Ochieng 

Department of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – KOEE

The global community, under the leadership of the United Nations (UN), developed the millennium development goals (MDGs) in the year 2000 in order to address most of the prevalent world challenges including hunger, diseases and gender equality among others. These goals were adopted for action by all UN member countries for a period of 15 years. The MDGs established measurable, universally agreed objectives for tackling extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly diseases, and expanding primary education to all children, among other development priorities. During the 15 years, the MDGs drove progress in several important areas: reducing income poverty, providing much needed access to water and sanitation, driving down child mortality and drastically improving maternal health. They also kick-started a global movement for free primary education, inspiring countries to invest in their future generations. Most significantly, the MDGs made huge strides in combating HIV/AIDS and other treatable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis (United Nations Development program, 2016).

With the increasing population and development demands by many countries alongside other world challenges, there came a need to re-evaluate the impacts that has come along with it. Subsequently, sustainable development goals (SDGs) were incepted and adopted in 2015 by the UN member countries. The goals are an extension of the MDGs, which incorporate the comprehensive objectives of addressing the development needs of the world with consideration for the environmental and societal challenges that come with it.

While theMDGs focused only on 8 goals, 21 targets and 63 indicators, SDGs in contrast have 17 goals with 169 targets and 230 indicators. The goals are to be achieved by 2030, coinciding with major global treaties such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, among others. The SDGs can be grouped according to the following key themes: People, Planet and Prosperity, with Partnerships and Peace cutting across all the goals (United Nations, 2015). 

Source: Office of the senior special assistant to president Nigeria OSSAP, SDGs on Twitter

The goals concerned with People seek to address poverty, hunger, quality education and gender equality. Prosperity is tackled by the goals on decent work and economic growth, industry innovation andinfrastructure, sustainable communities. Planet is addressed by the goals on climate action, life on land and below water. The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what was started by the MDGs, and tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today. All 17 Goals are interconnected, meaning success in one affects success for others.

Global goals such as the MDGs and the SDGs complement international conventions and other tools by providing a globally shared framework that fosters collaboration across countries, mobilizes all stakeholders, and inspires action. Applied well, the SDGs are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind as development advances and key challenges are tackled. 

References

Office of Senior Special Assistant to President Nigeria, SDGs on twitter (2018), 5Ps for Sustainable Development

United Nations Development Program (2016), From the MDGs to Sustainable Development for All

United Nations (2015), Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 

MAKINI SCHOOL – KIBOS Promoting Green Enterprise Development in Schools

Makini School Kibos campus was founded in 2012 and comprises Classes 4 to 8.The school is located on a vast piece of land of about 600 acres overlooking the magnificent Nandi Hills. It is about 4 kilometers from Kisumu City. The school strives to mould its learners into top performers not only in academics but in whatever they pursue. The learners are taught important values such as integrity and discipline as well as skills such as critical thinking and problem solving that are all key in today’s evolving world. The school has a population of 422 pupils of which 101 are in boarding. There are 27 teachers and 41 support staff. 

Even though the main Makini School Nairobi campus joined the Eco-schools program in 2007, the Kibos campus joined in 2017. However, the school has always been keen in promoting environmental conservation evidenced by the several green projects in the schools. These projects are usually spearheaded by the environmental club. The main objective of the club is to empower children with knowledge, skills and values necessary for environmental conservation and to equip them with life skills.

As part of the Eco-school activities, the school has a number of student-centered environmental projects. Some of the projects include; rabbitry, poultry keeping, indigenous vegetables farming, orchard farming, waste recycling, tree growing and water harvesting. All students, teachers, school management and at times community members participate in the implementation of these noble environmental projects. The projects are aimed enhancing learner engagement in environmental activities and improving the learning environment. The projects are also a response to climate change and also aim at making the school self-sufficient. The school gets most of its fruits, vegetables, eggs and chicken meat from the projects.  The orchard also serves as the resource center for extension learning within the school as it is learning and teaching resource.

Due to the school’s exemplary projects, the school was included in a project aimed at promoting green enterprise development in schools dubbed Schools Green Challenge from 2017-2018. The challenge was implemented under a collaborative partnership between KOEE and Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) as part of the Eco-schools Programme. The school emerged as winners among 12 other participating schools. As part of the Challenge, the school ventured into fish farming. The school has 2 fish ponds each with 900 tilapia fish and 100 cat fish for population control. The school now produces over 10,000 fish after every 6 months. This is targeted for about 40,000 consumers when harvested at the same time. 

The school has about 100 students who board. This provides the fish business with ready market as the school serves fish every Wednesday and Friday of the week for the borders. With the school spending about Kshs. 20,000 (190 USD) on fish per week, this is a sure weekly income for the project. 

Through the projects, the school has been able to inspire the students to be eco-entrepreneurs. The school strives to be a sustainability and climate action model school by indulging into climate smart actions. For instance they organically grow their food which is irrigated using harvested rain water. This cuts their carbon footprint in the long run. 

The killer weed – Cuscuta Japonica

By Ojuka Vincent Ochieng 

Department of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – KOEE

A tree in Wote town, Makueni County, invaded by field dodderCredit: Nation Media Group

One of the current emerging environmental challenges globally is invasive species and their associated impacts. A species is considered to be  invasive if it has been introduced by human action to a location, area, or region where it did not previously occur naturally and it becomes capable of establishing a breeding population in the new location without further intervention by humans; Global invasive species programme (GISP, 2004).An invasive alien species is also a non-native species both plants and animalswhose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health among others.

Cuscuta japonica commonly referred as Japanese Dodder is an invasive species that is native to Eastern Asia, which is recorded as a significant weed of fruit and ornamental trees in Japan, China and neighboring countries. It is a typical parasitic dodder with yellowish vines 1-2 mm in diameter, almost devoid of chlorophyll and much branched. The vines twine anti-clockwise around the host stems and foliage. Recent research by the Biotechnology Department at Kenyatta University, characterized the invasive plant as one that is a ‘master of deceit’ and which at a glance present itself as an enviable canopy that most people want to have around, thus its continuous spread in most parts of the continent, Kenya included. As an adaptation modification, it has a wide range of host plants but is majorly associated with the yellow oleander trees (flowerbeds), found as home hedges in most rural homesteads. It also attacks bougainvillea plant species and other plant species.

Mangoes belonging to Dorothy Katilo, a farmer in Makueni County, invaded by Japonica Credit: Nation Media Group

Mangoes belonging to Dorothy Katilo, a farmer in Makueni County, invaded by Japonica Credit: Nation Media Group

In Kenya, the manifestation of the dodder has been majorly reported in Western Kenya by most farmers who fear that it will be an uncontrollable challenge to agricultural activities in the region if not addressed early by the concerned departments. With the climate change causing vulnerability to the agricultural sector, it is vital to look into measures that can be taken to prevent any anticipated impacts of Japonica in the country.

One of the recommended conventional ways of containing the spread and impacts of the weed is by physical removal and burning to ensure it does not dominate the host species. As a strategy for Education for Sustainable Development, it is important to increase awareness on the weed and its impacts by sharing the information on it to schools, churches among other social settings, as in most cases its lack of knowledge or ignorance that leads to the increased invasiveness and its problems. The education will also impart relevant skills and attitudes to be able to solve the invasive species challenges. Key to solution provisions is strategic partnerships by related and relevant civil society organizations, state agencies and international corporations in fighting this menace just like climate change fights and other contemporary environmental challenges.

The Role of Tourism in Promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production

By Lorraine Dixon

Business, Environment and Sustainability Specialist – KOEE

Source: UNEP

Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) refers to “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations” (UNEP, 2010).

The global Travel & Tourismsector contributed $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy in 2018 (WTTC, 2019). However, the sectoraccounted for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by As the competitiveness of the tourism sector relies heavily on natural resources and the sector is forecasted to continue growing, the concept of SCP is highly relevant to ensure the sustainable development of tourism. Constant rethinking and optimization of performance of the tourism sector are of utmost importance to decouple tourism’s growth from the increasing use of natural resources. Moreover, advancing SCP in the tourism sector has the potential to achieve positive multiplier effects at all levels of its transversal value chain and can further position the sector as an agent of change.

Target 12.b of Sustainable Development Goal 12 on ensuring responsible consumption and production, sets out the need to develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism, which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products. The Sustainable Tourism Programme (STP) of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) aims at developing such SCP practices, including resource efficient initiatives that result in enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes. 

As a transversal economic sector, tourism has an extended and fragmented value chain which requires collaboration among a wide array of stakeholders (from different levels and branches of government, to the private sector and civil society) to deliver the tourism product and implies diverse linkages with other sectors. Furthermore, tourism, like no other sector, involves direct interaction between visitors (consumers) and host communities (producers) and thus can have a profound influence on the individual leading to more sustainable travel behaviour and demand (UNWTO and UNEP, 2019).

Source: UNWTO & UNEP

Areas of policy focus for improving the contribution of tourism towards SCP and sustainable development as a whole include:

  • Enhancing tourism’s environmental governance and institutional synergies 
  • Raising awareness of the potential of tourism to advance SDG 12
  • Enhancing the environmental components of tourism policies
  • Improving monitoring and disclosure of the sustainable development impacts of tourism for enhanced accountability

References

UNEP (2010). ABC of SCP Clarifying Concepts on Sustainable Consumption and Production.

WTTC (2019). Travel & Tourism continues strong growth above global GDP.

Lenzen, M. et al. (2018). The carbon footprint of global tourism. Nature Climate ChangeVolume 8, pages 522–528

UNWTO & UNEP (2019). Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies.

M’bweka Primary School Promoting Livelihoods Development and Marine Life Conservation

By David Wandabi – ESD Programs Officer & Eco-schools Coordinator and Lynn Modester

M’bweka Primary is a public mixed day school started in 1967 and located in Kwale County, Matuga Sub County, Waa location, Matuga sub location, M’bweka village in coastal Kenya. The school has 350 learners from ECD to class eight and with 12 teachers. 

The school is one of the pioneer Eco-schools in coastal region of Kenya having joined the program in 2008. With the school located in a poverty stricken area characterized by food insecurity and water scarcity among others; it largely focuses on projects that provide food and generate income. 

Mbweka Primary school students demonstrating how to make organic charcoal briquettes. Photo Credit: Alvin Sika, KOEE

The school Eco-cub started by practicing organic agriculture and agroforestry to localize the Kenyan curriculum. Then it scaled up to Eco-school by starting collaborating with parents, villagers and other stakeholders to plant and harvest trees sustainably,  recycle waste by making learning materials using waste papers as papier-mâché, make compost manure and organic briquettes as wood fuel reduce deforestation.        

The school grows Moringa trees, banana trees, and green vegetables for counter food insecurity. They focus more on Moringa tree as it is food supplement with the leaves having high nutritional value in proteins, carbohydrates and mineral salts. The leaves are dried and grinded, packed and sold locally. The seeds are used as medicine for blood pressure and diabetes and ulcers among others as well as used for water purification. The Moringa seed pods and leaves are also used to make briquettes. The school also sells Moringa tree seedlings. The Eco-School members have taken this as an opportunity to create awareness on how to use the Moringa through value addition. 

M’bweka Primary School has taken their environmental excellence a notch higher by being an environmental conservation model in their community. The school takes part in marine conservation drives including beach clean-ups and campaigns to protect marine wildlife. The school took part in annual Sea Turtle festival on the 16thof June, 2019. The festival highlights the importance of turtles as a great tourist attraction in Kwale County, which are slowly dying out due to various human activities including sand harvesting, hunting and fishing. M’bweka students took part in a beach cleanup and were awarded certificate for outstanding contribution to marine conservation.  They further adopted a sea turtle nest at Diani beach as well as a green sea turtle. All these helped in promoting marine conservation education.

KENYA ORGANIZATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION REPRESENTED AT THE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH WEEK CELEBRATION IN NAIROBI COUNTY

Introduction 

The International Youth Day (IYD) is observed annually on 12thAugust. It is meant as an opportunity for governments, corporates, private sector and other societal entities to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world. IYD was designated by the United Nations in 1999 with the adoption of Resolution 54/120. To guide the celebrations, the United Nations developed the Framework Approach highlighting three key objectives for the celebrations which included increased commitment and investment in youth, increased youth participation and partnerships, and increased intercultural understanding among youth. 

With the support, will, guidance and endorsement by the Youth Directorate and Nairobi County Government, leaders from different youths based organizations in conservation, social and economic empowerment strongly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and the Kenya Vision 2030 Agenda, organized a one week event which was flagged off on 6thAugust 2019 by dignitaries from the Directorate of Youth and Gender in the Kenya to mark the opening of International Youth Week (IYW). The event took place at One Stop Rescue Center along Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi. Wezesha initiative, Kenya Inter-university Environmental Students Association (KIUESA and Stand Up Shout Out (SUSO) led other stakeholders in the flag off. 

The Kenya organization for environmental education KOEE was represented in the celebrations by Ojuka Vincent, chairperson Kenya Inter-University Environmental students Association (KIUESA), who is interning at the organization and is championing for youth’s spaces and leadership in environmental conservation. This was also to strengthen KIUESA’s collaboration with UNESCO Chair on Green Economy-Kenyatta University that is partnering with KOEE to implement Higher Education Development for a Green Economy and Sustainability (HEDGES) project.

Workshop Objectives

During the day, different youth led organizations were driving their interrelated objectives to mark the week. The workshop objectives included;

  1. To discuss and reaffirm the role of youths in promoting social and economic empowerment within the youth spaces and initiatives.
  2. To show solidarity of the young generation in driving the global development agendas with the sustainable development goals with emphasize on climate change awareness creation and the green economy agenda.
  3. To share and exchange ideas and experiences of the different youths within the county with diverse areas of specialization like youths empowerment.

Activities

  • Key note addresses and presentations

This was the first activity of the day that saw different partners present and share with the participants on their engagement in the youth spaces as well as highlighting the milestones they have achieved while working with the youths. Some of the presenters were from KIUESA, WEZESHA INITIATIVE, SUSO and the Youth Directorate. The directorate outlined some of the strategies that the government had put in place to empower the youths and address the unemployment issues through projects like Kenya Youth Employment Opportunity Program and the Youth Revolving Funds. As key note speakers, they urged the youth to be aggressive and to keep doing great in their initiatives as it counts and matters a lot to the government and global community and assured support of the youth led projects.

  • Tree planting

To commit to the objective of fighting climate change and promoting green growth, KIUESA led the participants in tree planting activity where about 100 trees were planted. The association challenged participants on promoting sustainability issues including a call to ensure that the trees planted on the day were well taken care of till maturity. It  was agreed that the school where  the trees were planted was to monitor the progress of the trees and continuous visits by the association to the school will be going on to ensure that the planted trees are counting to the forest cover in the country.

Tree planting activity
  • Exhibitions

During the day, different organizations were able to exhibit some of the products they make for their income generation. Some of them included the art works, customized beads, tree seeds and seedlings, bookmarks-shirts among other products.

  • Youth bonding and team building 

Most of the participants of the day were youths who were lively and engaged in team building and bonding sessions. This was by involvement of the fun games, music and eco-challenges among others. It was meant to expose the participants on the need to partner and work together for a common course irrespective of their backgrounds as illustrated in the SDG 17.

  • Flag off

To mark the day, the Directorate of Youth in the end joined all participants in the flagging off the week by launching an awareness creation caravan of the youths who had a peaceful match within the streets to publicize the week and to sensitize on the different youths agendas to be covered during the celebrations.

   Participants pose with their tree seedlings before planting

 Conclusions

IYD/IYW is a major global event that allows people to reflect on the ways and means of engaging the youths who form a better part of the world’s population. It is encouraging to see many youth initiatives supported and endorsed by different government agencies, international programs and entities like UN and UNESCO, civil societies, corporates world among others. A lot more can be done with regards to youths empowerment for relevant skill and knowledge in different fields while targeting to achieve the UN sustainable development goals.

Turning Plastics into Useful Resources

Brookhouse School

Brookhouse School has been one of the pioneer international schools in the Eco-schools Kenya programme. The school joined the Eco-schools Kenya back in 2010. Since then it has been a trailblazer in terms of promoting sustainability in schools and especially among international schools in Kenya. The school has been part of Eco-schools Litter Less Campaign since 2014 – an international campaign supported Wrigley Foundation aimed at promoting sustainable waste management in schools. As part of the campaign, the school has been collecting plastic bottles. The school forged a partnership with the Human Needs Project (HNP) in Kibera Slums in Nairobi. In 2015, HNP had a project to construct an underground waste water filtration and treatment system. This system required media for bacteria to grow and that happened to plastic media. Lots of bottles were therefore needed, cut into small pieces and stuffed into the underground tanks. As part of the Litter Less Campaign, the school Eco-club took up the challenge to support this interesting recycling initiative by rallying up support from the whole school body in collecting bottles. Parents supported their children by dropping off loads of used bottles in the morning when they bring their children to school. It ended up becoming a whole Brookhouse community Eco-schools involvement.

Brookhouse delegation in a brainstorming session at 2019 Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit conference in Dana Point, California
Brookhouse delegation in a brainstorming session at 2019 Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit conference in Dana Point, California

It is estimated that the whole waste water plant took excess of 150,000 bottles of which Brookhouse Eco-club had made the greatest contribution. Human Needs project is involved with community empowerment and sanitation issues; more about them here; http://www.humanneedsproject.org/about-hnp

From 2017, the school shifted focus into recycling used plastic bags into useful products. This was in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases. The products made are donated to the school’s Service Learning partner i.e. Thomas Barnados orphanage and Seed Academy are two of our Community Service partners. The project also entails creating a group of student leaders who train other students/groups of students on this recycling activity. The project has been made a core Service Learning activity by incorporating more tutor groups.

The Brookhouse Plastic management project has grown from a school-wide sustainability campaign to an international engagement with other schools/youth around the world in a forum known as Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit (POPS). Members of the Environment Club in the school brainstorm and develop project ideas that are aimed at eliminating plastic waste in the school as well as in our immediate community. They present these ideas at the summit and also get opportunities to share solutions with youth and experts from other parts of the world. This biannual conference takes place in Dana Point, California. In 2019, the school presented their project idea of recycling used plastic bags into useful products in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases.

So far the school has recycled over 150Kgs of plastic bottles involving over 100 students directly and over 300 students reached with messages on plastic waste management. This has led to reduced amount of plastic waste within the school community and increased awareness among students and teachers on methods of recycling plastic waste. It has also led to improved behaviour among the youth concerning sustainable consumption and production and increased students’ knowledge and practical skills in recycling plastic waste.

The school Eco-schools Patron, Mr. Thaddeus Obunga says,“The project has exposed our students to different dialogues on plastic waste management which has enhanced their knowledge and skills on waste management. Students have specifically gained entrepreneurial skills on how to transform plastic waste into something useful instead of just discarding it away.”